Skylar Grey singing at the Tibet Talk For World Peace in July 2011
|Birth name||Holly Brook Hafermann|
|Also known as||Holly Brook|
|Born||February 23, 1986|
|Origin||Mazomanie, Wisconsin, United States|
|Genres||Pop, folk rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar|
|Labels||KIDinaKORNER, Interscope, Machine Shop|
Holly Brook Hafermann (born February 23, 1986), better known by her stage name Skylar Grey, is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. Grey was initially signed to Machine Shop Recordings under the name Holly Brook, where she released her debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, in 2006. She co-wrote the three versions of "Love the Way You Lie" (for Eminem and Rihanna) with Alex da Kid, who signed her to his KIDinaKORNER record label. She was featured as a guest vocalist on Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go" and "Be Somebody", Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home", Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor", Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said" and Kaskade's "Room for Happiness". Her debut major label studio album, Don't Look Down, was released on July 9, 2013.
Life and career
2001–2005: Early life and career beginnings
Grey performed professionally as a child in a folk duo with her mother called Generations. Together, (with producer/engineer Randy Green) they independently produced three albums, Dream Maker, Lift Me, and Millennial Child/Waiting For You. Grey started her first band at the age of fifteen after 'sneaking' into bars, working with jazz musicians including Jeff Eckles, Tim Whalen and Leo Sidran in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 2003, Grey moved to Los Angeles and recorded a demo as Holly Brook, which would be her stage name for several years. This demo led to her being signed in the fall of 2004 by Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson to the band's vanity label, Machine Shop Recordings, at the age of 18.
2006–2010: Like Blood Like Honey and O'Dark:Thirty EP
Her voice is featured on the Fort Minor songs "Where'd You Go" and "Be Somebody". Working with producer Jonathan Ingoldsby, Brook released her debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, on June 6, 2006. She landed opening spots for tours with Jamie Cullum, k.d. lang, Daniel Powter, Teddy Geiger and Duncan Sheik.
In 2010, Brook lent both her song "It's Raining Again" and her image to a promotional campaign for Ciao Water. Prior to this, she has appeared on albums by other artists, including Brie Larson's Finally Out of P.E. and Fort Minor's The Rising Tied. Brook has toured as part of Duncan Sheik's band, and contributed substantially to his 2009 album Whisper House. At the beginning of 2010 she performed in the theatrical version of "Whisper House," playing one of the two lead ghost vocalists along with David Poe. Also in 2010, she self-released the seven-song O’Dark:Thirty EP, produced by Duncan Sheik and Jon Ingoldsby. In 2009, Brook appeared as a backing vocalist on Eurovision contestant Yohanna's debut album, Butterflies and Elvis.
2010–present: Name change, new direction and Don't Look Down
Brook later changed her name to Skylar Grey. She explained that "it represents the unknowns in life. People seem to be afraid of the unknowns, but I’m the complete opposite. I dive into the unknown because I feel like that’s where all your possibilities come from." She explained to Beatweek that she chose "grey" with an e rather than an a because "I like to do things the original way" and because "it’s more masculine. I’m not a very feminine person."
She was still living in Oregon and had no recognition as Skylar Grey. Grey went to New York to meet her publisher, Jennifer Blakeman, who played Grey the song "Airplanes" by B.o.B and Hayley Williams and produced by Alex da Kid; Grey liked what she heard so Blakeman introduced her and Alex da Kid via e-mail. Alex da Kid sent Grey a few tracks he had been working on and the first song she wrote was "Love The Way You Lie".
Alex da Kid signed her to a production deal on his KIDinaKORNER imprint. She wrote the hook to all three versions of "Love the Way You Lie" by rapper Eminem and Rihanna as well as all of the lyrics and melody to versions II and III of the song. She can be heard performing the demo for all versions of the song. Grey earned a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year for her writing contributions to "Love the Way You Lie". She also co-wrote Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home", along with "Castle Walls" by T.I. and Christina Aguilera. On March 10, 2011, Diddy-Dirty Money performed the single "Coming Home" with Grey and Dirty Money vocalists, Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper, live on American Idol.
She is also a writer and featured guest on "I Need a Doctor". Grey is also featured on Lupe Fiasco's third studio album Lasers, on the second single, "Words I Never Said" and was also featured in the live performance of the song, with Lupe, on The Colbert Report on May 9, 2011. Grey made her live performance debut under her new alias during the 53rd Grammy Awards, performing "I Need a Doctor" alongside Eminem and Dr. Dre. She is currently working on her solo studio album Don't Look Down with Alex Da Kid. She has signed to Interscope Records through Da Kid's KIDinaKORNER, and her first promotional buzz single "Dance Without You" was released on June 6, 2011, with the official music video being released on July 5. "Dance Without You" was featured in the 2012 film Step Up Revolution. The first official single "Invisible" was released to radio on June 16, but it was confirmed over Twitter that the single would not appear on her upcoming album. On July 9, 2011, Grey performed live at the World Peace Event in Washington, DC, appearing along with the 14th Dalai Lama. On 6 August, she performed at the 20th Lollapalooza festival as both a solo artist and with Eminem during the song "I Need A Doctor". The next day, while passing by the area where YouTube sensation Karmin was recording their cover of "I Need A Doctor," Grey joined the duo for an impromptu performance. She performed alongside rapper Eli Porter on the September 20, 2011 episode of Tosh.0.
Grey also featured on Kaskade's 2011 album Fire & Ice, writing and singing on two versions of the song "Room for Happiness", which became the album's third single and earned her another Grammy nomination.
It was also reported that, along with appearing twice as a guest artist on Slaughterhouse's upcoming album Welcome to: Our House, Grey would also be contributing to The Band Perry's sophomore album, which is set to be released in April 2013 and "Building a Monster", a song from her upcoming CD was featured on the soundtrack to Tim Burton's Frankenweenie.
Grey features on two songs from Slaughterhouse's major label debut album Welcome to: Our House ("Our House," which also features Eminem, and "Rescue Me"), along with co-writing Zedd's 2012 single "Clarity" and Cee Lo Green's 2013 single "Only You". Grey released her first official single, "C'mon Let Me Ride", which features Eminem and will appear on her album, both to radio and as a lyric video on November 27.
Grey also contributed an exclusive song "Slowly Freaking Out" to the soundtrack album for the film The Host, based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer, and also contributed to will.i.am's solo album #willpower on the song "Love Bullets".
On April 7, 2013, for the second consecutive year Grey performed at WWE Wrestlemania, this time in front of 80,676 fans. She performed with Sean "Diddy" Combs on his song "Coming Home" which Grey had been featured on in the album version, performing the chorus. "Coming Home" was one of the official theme songs of Wrestlemania XXIX.
- "String of hits gives Da Kid a break", Music Week, July 17, 2010
- "Skylar Grey: Changes to the Holly Brook mailing list: Holly Brook announces new name, "Skylar Grey"". 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- Samara Kalk, Rhythm Profile, Wisconsin State Journal, December 27, 2001.
- Ciao Water – Official Website
- McNulty, Charles (2010—01-24). "Theater review: 'Whisper House' at San Diego's Old Globe*". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
- HOLLY BROOK – O’Dark Thirty
- Mandi Bierly. "Skylar Grey talks about her name change". EW. p. 4. Archived from the original on Feb 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
- Skylar Grey: the Beatweek interview with the future of pop music via Beatweek Magazine
- Alex Da Kid signs Skylar Grey to Wonderland Entertainment via Billboard
- Eminem, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga Lead Grammy Nominations via Billboard
- Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey – "Coming Home" via Rap-Up
- Alex Da Kid names Skylar Grey as writer for "Castle Walls" by T.I. & Christina Aguilera via Rap-Up
- "Diddy-Dirty Money, Sklyar Grey Bring "Coming Home" to American Idol". MTV. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
- Dr. Dre reunites with Eminem via RollingStone
- SKYLAR GREY SIGNS TO INTERSCOPE, SINGLE DUE THIS SPRING
- Skylar Grey releases cover art for debut single "Dance Without You" via Twitter
- YouTube - "Dance Without You" official video.
- Step Up Revolution#Songs featured
- Yahoo News - Skylar Grey Performs Live with the Dalai Lama, July 9.
- "Skylar Grey Performs For The Dalai Lama At The U.S. Capitol | News". B96 Chicago. July 11, 2011.
- "Lollapalooza 2011: Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam". Skylar Grey Crashes Karmin's Billboard Tent Jam. billboard.com.
- AMP Radio 97.1 - Skylar Grey Is Proud Of Her GRAMMY Nom With Kaskade Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- WrestleMania XXVIII Celebrities Photos - WWE, Retrieved January 29, 2013
- WrestleMania shatters records - WWE, Retrieved April 8, 2013
- The Band Perry Toast Latest #1 Hit and Look Forward to Sophomore Project! - The WOLF Morning Show, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2012.
- The Band Perry Collaborating with Sheryl Crow & "Love the Way You Lie" Writer - ABC News Radio, February 28, 2012
- Skylar Grey debuts single "C'mon Let Me Ride to radio. KISS FM Seattle. November 27
- Guitar Center Sessions with host Nic Harcourt Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- THE HOST. CHOOSE TO LISTEN To Be Released March 26th On KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- will.i.am To Release Brand-New Album #willpower On April 23 Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Sean “Diddy” Combs musical performance: photos - WWE, Retrieved April 8, 2013
- Media’s Future, As Seen Through One Clunky ‘Get Lucky’ Cover - The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2013.
- Skylar Grey Was Known As Holly Brook Prior To Meeting Eminem
- "Garbage picks up again with 'Not Your Kind of People'" - Los Angeles Times
- 10 Questions: Skylar Grey
- Official website
- skylargrey's channel on YouTube
- Skylar Grey on Facebook
- Skylar Grey on Twitter
- On Interscope.com